Edson: Who’s On Deck in the Tigers TV Booth?
The 1968 Detroit Tigers saved us again last weekend.
Fifty years ago, their run to the World Series title galvanized a city and a state that were torn apart by the riots of 1967.
This time, the stakes were less dramatic but just as important to a Tigers fan base left stunned by the suspensions of TV announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen.
The two announcers – who were not good friends but made a smooth announcing team – got into a serious physical altercation last week after a game in Chicago.
The result? Fox Sports Detroit handled the situation correctly – they sent both men home for the season. And since their contracts are up at the end of the season, their futures are in jeopardy.
So as stunned Tiger fans listened to the quick replacements that were rounded up, the 1968 Tigers were feted over the weekend on their 50th anniversary. It just seemed so fitting.
The Ilitch family, which owns the Tigers, did a beautiful job of rolling out the red carpet for the former players and the fans.
Watching the 1968 players get introduced on Saturday evening brought back a flood of memories. If you followed the Tigers that season, you can cite an important role everyone played. Even bit players like Tom Matchick – a dramatic walk-off home run against the Baltimore Orioles – or Pat Dobson – getting out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam against those same Orioles.
So this weekend was full of nostalgia for Tigers fans. Those were the days when the voice of Ernie Harwell told the stories of a team that rallied 28 times in the late innings to earn victories. It was a team that was down 3-1 in the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals and rallied to beat the best pitcher on the planet at that time – Bob Gibson – to win it all in seven games.
This weekend the 1968 Tigers reminded us that being resilient is an important part of life.
That means this 2018 version has to move on to what has been a disappointing season – on and off the field.
Not only have the rebuilding Tigers struggled on the field, they fired pitching coach Chris Bosio earlier in the season for his demeaning remarks to a club employee. Now we have the Mario and Rod mess.
I actually see this as a great opportunity for the Tigers to re-set their broadcasting teams. There is no question that the best Tigers broadcaster of the bunch has been – and remains – radio voice Dan Dickerson.
I would love to see Dickerson shift over to the TV booth. That would create an opportunity for a good, young broadcaster to take over the play-by-play role in the radio booth.
So it will be interesting to see what direction the Tigers take in the off-season.
Look at it this way: Both the team and the TV announcers have nowhere to go but up at this point.
Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.